| CYPRUS PROBLEM |Alpha News Live



Before the dust thrust into the sky by the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey had even settled, Athens rushed (first) to help its neighbour with rescue teams. That immediate and correct move by the Greek government has since shaped a different political scene. We have had (and are still having) a calm summer, without provocations, violations, tension and hostile rhetoric. The two countries are happily counting the profits amassed through mass tourism and, for the first time in many years, seem to be considering the benefits of peace.

Of course, the earthquakes served as an opportunity for the two governments to establish the climate they were both seeking within the broader geopolitical changes underway. And no one is certain if and for how long all this will last. But it is here that one understands the significance of ‘small’ moves that break away from the logic of the chess game being shaped in sanitised rooms and sterile minds.

And now we come to something more recent. To our own devastating fires in the Limassol district. The Turkish Cypriot side expresses its readiness to send help. It is even doing so through the technical committee, anticipating the reactions that will claim [the offer amounts to nothing more than] tactics for the recognition of the pseudo-state. And what is our response? “Thank you very much, but what we need are aircraft… etc, etc.” Clearly, the two fire trucks the Turkish Cypriots would have sent would not have made a difference. Clearly, what we needed were planes, not ground forces.

But when you are – supposedly – trying to cultivate a better climate for the resumption of the Cyprus settlement process, the mind needs to go far beyond formal meetings and slick handshakes. When you are the one who is – supposedly – pushing things forward, you should at least be able to appreciate that two fire trucks have greater value than an informal dinner attended by the two leaders and their spouses. If only the people (however many) could band together in a common effort for their country. If only they could set a good precedent so we would not also have to protest every time the others refuse the help we offer. If only we could have given the media a chance to talk about something positive instead of the perpetually toxic climate they cultivate.

“Thank you very much, but…”. I am sure the sterile minds, permanently immersed in legalisms and seemingly grand political perceptions, prevailed this time too. Just like when the people used to mix at the checkpoints and they, from within their closed and well air-conditioned rooms, decided that showing a passport “will lead to recognition of the pseudo-state”…

Really though, will someone please explain to us why the political perception in the upper echelons of power – almost half a century later – still lacks even the slightest degree of imagination that could go beyond the rulebooks of sterile vision developed over the years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and elsewhere?


Giorgos Kaskanis was born in 1964 in Nicosia, originally from Myrtou (Kyrenia). He studied journalism and worked as a political editor at newspapers and TV stations. As a journalist he followed and covered almost all efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem and published the book “When Spring comes, let the windows open” (2015). He currently works at the television station Alpha Cyprus as News Director.

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